MEDICARE-SUBSIDISED TELEHEALTH SERVICES FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS
Northern Beaches MP, Jason Falinski has supported the government’s decision to provide continued access to essential primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Australian Government is expanding Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and providing extra incentives to general practitioners and other health practitioners.
“We are making telehealth a key weapon in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanding the consultation services available by telehealth is the next critical stage in the Government’s response to COVID-19.” Mr Falinski stated.
These critical changes have been designed in partnership with key stakeholders in the sector including the Australian Medical Association, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Allied Health Professionals Australia, Australian Psychological Society, and the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association.
Services will include GP services and some consultation services provided by other medical specialists, nurse practitioners, mental health treatment, chronic disease management, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health assessments, services to people with eating disorders, pregnancy support counselling, services to patients in aged care facilities, children with autism, and after-hours consultations.
“Australia’s primary health workers are our front line in leading the fight against this pandemic. Including those doing amazing work on the Northern Beaches, including at our state-of-the-art Northern Beaches Hospital.”
“Services via telehealth will limit unnecessary exposure of patients and health professionals to COVID-19, wherever treatment can be safely delivered by phone or videoconferencing.”
“This will take pressure off hospitals and emergency departments.”
The Government will double the bulk billing incentive for GPs both for face-to-face and telehealth services during the course of the COVID-19 response.
Doubling the bulk billing incentive will facilitate sustainable support for providers, and ensure concession and other vulnerable patients who need services continue to be provided with free, timely and appropriate access.
“The Government’s number one priority is protecting and supporting Australians who are vulnerable to COVID-19."
The new arrangements will commence on Monday 30 March and will be in place until 30 September 2020, when they will be reviewed in light of the need to continue our battle against COVID-19.